Healthcare System Responsible For Fiscal Bleeding in USA

by VR Sreeraman on  November 9, 2009 at 5:40 PM Health Insurance News
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 Healthcare System Responsible For Fiscal Bleeding in USA
Barack Obama, USA President, at a recent press conference condemned the existing Healthcare system in the country and attacked it for wasteful expenditure incurred on account of it. Thomson Reuters has endorsed the stand vis-ā-vis US Healthcare system taken by USA President and wants the proposed reforms to be introduced at the earliest to arrest the deficiencies and shortcomings, preventing errors accompanied with fight against corruption widespread in the system.

As per the report released by Robert Kelley, Vice-President of Healthcare Analytics at Thomson Reuters, US Healthcare system is responsible for incurring unnecessary expenditure ranging between US $505 billion to $850 billion every year.

The report specifically targets US Healthcare system being responsible for haemorrhaging millions of precious dollars down the drain responsible for cascading effects on US economy. There exists ample scope for arresting the resultant fiscal bleeding occurring on account of the prevailing healthcare system in USA.

In this report which is a matter of grave concern, Kelley has estimated approximately 700 billion US dollars forms an inevitable part of this wasteful expenditure that accounts for one-third of country's healthcare bill.

The positive aspect of this report is that by tackling the wastes escalation of healthcare costs can be drastically reduced without affecting the quality of healthcare or access to such facilities across USA.

One glaring example is the extensive usage of paper-based system that encourages secrecy without sharing of medical records resulting in 6% of annual overspending.

This report stresses the importance of wasteful expenditure arising on account of duplication of tests by various healthcare providers. The results of a particular investigation report recorded are not made available to the other healthcare provider. Administration of inappropriate treatment to an individual by the medical fraternity due to non-accessability of past-medical history records is another classic example of wasteful expenditure.

The findings which could be of significant relevance released by Thomson Reuters, the parent company of Reuters are enlisted below:

For providing protection against the exposure of rampart malpractice that is widely prevalent, over-usage of antibiotics and unnecessary lab tests account for 37% of healthcare expenditure that accounts for $200 to $300 billion a year.

22% of healthcare expenditure arises on account of fraud that is widely prevalent in US Healthcare system which accounts to $200 billion a year comprising of fraudulent healthcare insurance claims, kickbacks for unnecessary referrals for services not deemed necessary and other scams.

Shortfalls in operational capabilities and irrelevant paper-work accounting for 18% of healthcare expenditure

Medical inaccuracies accounts for 11% of the total pie accounting for account for $50 billion to $100 billion of irrelevant expenditure.

Conditions that can be prevented for example uncontrolled Diabetes Mellitus accounts for $30 billion to $50 billion a year.

The report while giving citations from dozens of other research papers mentions that an average US hospital spends one-quarter of its annual budgetary allocation towards medical and administration which is a significant expenditure twice the average than that of Canada.

Reporting a quote from a research article that appeared in New England Journal of Medicine (2003 edition) by Harvard University researcher Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, it mentions that American physicians spend nearly eight hours per week on paper-work employing 1.66 clerical work per doctor which is significant in comparison to Canadian healthcare system.

The report takes into consideration of lacking of adequate facilities by primary-care doctors resulting in unnecessary usage and wasteful expenditure on emergency rooms.

All the aforesaid reasons lend credibility as to why Americans spend more per capita, thereby resulting in highest percentage of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) on Healthcare as compared to any other OECD country. To add insult to injury, USA has an alarming rate of unhealthy population suffering from diabetes, obesity, heart disease and higher rates of neonatal deaths as compared to other developed nations, which is of prime importance.

Democratic Senator Charles Schumer is confident that Senate Democratic leaders would be able to initiate reform of the country's $2.5 trillion healthcare system, which would usher in sweeping changes in existing US Healthcare system which is in total doldrums in the currently prevailing scenario.

Source: Medindia

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